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How to get a copy of your last Tax Return

How to get a copy of your last Tax Return

It is always a great idea to have your personal copy of last year’s tax return to help with this year’s tax return filing; and if for some reason you didn’t keep your copy last year, the IRS can help you out with that. Additionally, if you can not remember if you actually filed your tax return the previous year, you may need to go through this process.

To get your copy of your tax return you have 3 options. You can choose to:

  • Order by phone by just calling the IRS and making your request.
  • Order online by going on and using the “Get Transcript” tool.


It can take up to 60 days for the IRS to process your request, but when you do receive your tax return, you will have a copy of the original tax form as well as the schedules and forms that you attached to it.

By law, the IRS must destroy a majority of the tax returns received after 7 years so if you need a tax return that you filed more than 7 years ago, the IRS may try to locate it but it may not be found.

In addition, you should know that the IRS charges a fee for each requested tax return.

The IRS also has a form called form 4506. All you need to do is go to the IRS website, find form 4506 and request for a copy of last year’s tax return. You’ll be asked to provide some vital details like your name,  address, and social security number.

You’ll also be asked to provide other information like the year for which you are requesting a tax return. You can request a tax return that is dated up to 3 years back. What you must note is that it usually takes a couple of weeks to get a 4506 form back to you, and you must enclose payment while mailing the 4506 form.

If you want the return sent directly to a third party (such as a bank that is reviewing your application for a mortgage loan), all you have to do is provide the bank’s contact information on the form before sending it to the IRS.

There is another way to go about it if you do not want to pay for the tax return.

While you are still on the official IRS website, you will find another form called the form 4506-T. This form simply gives you the option to request a transcript. In essence, the IRS does not send you copies of the forms, instead, they send you several pieces of information like how much was requested, how much you ended up paying, and a bunch of other information.

If you would like to fill the form 4506-T, all that you have to do is simply download it. You do not have to pay for it.

Either of the two forms mentioned above will give you sufficient information regarding your previously filed tax returns, but to get all the information available, you should get both forms.

You should note that the tax return transcript (form 4506-T) has limitations. For instance, it does not record changes that were made after the tax had been filed such as IRS adjustments.

Do you need help filing your tax returns? Then do not hesitate to contact us immediately!

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Internet subscribers, users, and online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant. Any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this website is not intended to be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties, of any kind, under U.S. federal tax laws.